Broadband light (BBL) is an advanced IPL system that delivers pulses of light to destroy unwanted pigmented lesions such as age spots and freckles, without damaging surrounding skin. IPL light treatments are non-invasive, suitable for both the face and body and will result in improved skin clarity and a more even skin tone.
Broadband light spans a broader spectrum of light than traditional IPL to allow for more precise treatment and greater flexibility in the range of conditions treated, including both red and brown blemishes.
Regular treatments with Broadband light have been shown to delay skin aging. Read More about these benefits.
IPL delivers short pulses of filtered light that are readily absorbed by the high concentration of melanin found within pigmentation and freckles. The rapid absorption of light energy heats the melanin, causing the destruction of the melanin-rich cells and eventual fading of the pigmentation or freckle.
What do pigmentation and freckle treatments involve?
- You will first be seen by a doctor who will review your medial history to confirm your suitability, discuss your concerns, photograph the area to be treated and decide on the best pigmentation and freckle treatment for you.
- You will be shown before and after photos of other patients’ outcomes, as well as photos of what you might expect to look like immediately after treatment.
- Your doctor will perform your treatment, which is non-invasive and will feel like a series of quick stings, similar to a rubber band flicking on your skin.
- During treatment you will be asked to wear dark glasses to shield your eyes.
- The BBL is fitted with a cooling plate that both protects the skin and reduces discomfort as pulses of light are directed at unwanted freckles and pigmentation. As well, a soothing layer of chilled gel is applied to the treatment area. The light applicator is placed on the skin and a short pulse of light is released. The applicator is then moved to the neighbouring area and the process is repeated until the entire area is treated.
- You may experience a sensation of heat following each pulse and will be offered an ice pack if needed to help reduce this sensation quickly.
What should I expect after BBL treatment?
Immediately following treatment pigmentation and freckles will darken and may appear more obvious before fading and ‘flaking’ away over 1-2 weeks.
Short term redness and sensitivity may develop in the surrounding skin and temporary swelling under the eyes may be experienced following treatment to the upper cheeks. Makeup may be worn immediately.
Read More about post procedural care.
Is treatment painful?
Pigmentation and freckle treatments are quick, typically taking not more than a few minutes. Though you will experience a definite sensation, most patients describe the discomfort as mild and tolerable and usually no anaesthesia is needed. Numbing cream and/or laughing gas are however available if required.
How many treatments will I need?
One to two treatments a month apart usually suffice to eliminate the majority of freckles and pigmented blemishes, though more extensive or resistant conditions may do best over a course of treatments.
How long will results last?
Results are long lasting with proper care and ongoing sun avoidance. An SPF 30 sunscreen should be used on a daily basis, at least for the first month after treatment and preferably lifelong. Your doctor may recommend a home skin care regime that will help maintain your improved appearance.
Am I suitable for pigmentation and freckle treatments?
Most people are suitable for pigmentation and freckle treatments, with the exception of those with exceptionally dark skin or those who are darkly tanned. Treatment is best performed when skin is at its palest. Superficial pigmentation such as that caused by sun damage (sun spots) and freckles respond best.
Certain types of pigmentation such as some birthmarks, moles, malignancies or melasma, which is often hormonally stimulated, are not suitable for this treatment. Read More about these different types of pigmentation and their treatments.
Pigmented spots that are thickened, rough or raised above the surface of the skin may respond better to treatment using the Erbium laser. Marks or moles that are unevenly coloured or black, are raised or thickened, itch or bleed, or have grown or changed shape or colour are not suitable for treatment and should be reviewed by a dermatologist.
Other contraindications to treatment include:
- Pregnancy. Though no specific complications are anticipated, as a precaution we prefer not to use lasers or IPL/BBL machines during pregnancy.
- Presence of active cold sores or other infections in the areas to be treated.
- Moles or suspicious lesions as described above.
- Use of Roaccutane in the last 12 months, as this may compromise healing.
- Recent tanning, either natural or artificial, interferes with the absorption of light into pigment.
- Seizure disorders that are triggered by light.
The following conditions may require additional precautions:
- Medication that is known to increase sensitivity to sunlight such as tetracycline antibiotics, phenothiazine tranquillisers or gold treatment therapy.
- A history of cold sores in the area to be treated. Anti-viral medication may need to be prescribed before treatment.
- Taking anticoagulants (blood thinners) may predispose you to bruising.
- A history of keloid or abnormal scarring, vitiligo, connective tissue disease, auto immune disease or immunosuppression may be contraindications for treatment. Your suitability for treatment will be assessed at your initial consultation.
- Poorly controlled diabetes may compromise healing.
Possible side effects and complications
BBL treatments are intended to be gentle and safe. However, the possibility of complications cannot be entirely eliminated whenever a skin procedure is performed. You will be shown photos of these side effects during your consultation.
- Prolonged redness and swelling, blistering, crusting or flaking, bruising and infection are risks of any laser or IPL/BBL treatment.
- Pigment changes. Though this will most often be temporary, the risk of permanence cannot be eliminated.
- Scarring, though rare, can occur following any skin treatment.
- Protective eye wear/shields must be worn throughout the treatment session to avoid the risk of eye damage.
- Treatment near the eyebrows carries a small risk that eyebrow hair may be affected. Hair may take several months to regrow and the possibility of permanent loss cannot be completely eliminated.
- “Patterning” of the skin. This reflects a demarcation between treated and untreated areas. These areas are easily blended at your follow up visit.